Pilates Gives Back Charity Fundraiser

Pilates Gives Back Day is an international fundraising event that encourages us to collectively become a powerhouse of giving. We interviewed Marie Wittman, the committee head for the Authentic Pilates Union’s Charity Committee, to find out what this event is all about and how we can get involved.

Tell us about your event. What type of event is it and who does it support?
Pilates Gives Back Day is an international fundraising event. The funds raised can be contributed to any of the 5 charities listed on our webpage or to a charity that the local event organizer chooses. Pilates Gives Back Day supports the communities in which we all teach and live.

When is your event?
The event will be Saturday, September 20, 2014.

Where is it going to be held?
Pilates Gives Back will be held at locations all over the world.

Who is involved with your event?
The macro-organization of the event is the Charity Committee in the Authentic Pilates Union (APU).

What is the mission of your event? The mission is to draw the Pilates community together on a single day so that, as an international team, we can raise awareness and give back to some important charitable organizations.

When was the first Pilates Gives Back event held and what motivated you to create it to begin with?
The first Pilates Gives Back event was April 2013.

When founding the APU, the board members knew they wanted charity to be a part of the organization. All the board members had so many stories of the generosity of their teachers and they wished to carry that forward in the Pilates community. Several ideas were talked about but it was Kathryn Ross-Nash’s suggestion of the day that they decided to pursue. Dana Santi, co-chair, has said, “I think that what Pilates has done for many teachers, both mentally and physically, is something we can’t put a price on.”

Can you tell us about the 1st Annual Pilates Gives Back?
The first annual Pilates Gives Back day was a true success when measured by its goal of reaching Pilates practitioners around the world. The primary objective of the first effort was to get as many people involved as possible. We reached out to studio owners, clients, and instructors to rally support around this day and its mission - for the Pilates community to use its resources and Pilates knowledge to give back to the community, both locally and globally. We were very grateful for the support that came from around the world.

How can others in the Pilates community participate?
Anyone in the Pilates community can plan an event to take place on the Pilates Gives Back Day. It can be as simple as converting your Saturday classes to donation-based for that day, planning special group classes, privates, or duets for the day, or arranging for classes in outdoor spaces like the park. A workshop could be organized with the costs donated to their charity, and socials are a good way to draw the public into a studio or home studio for Pilates Gives Back Day. Clients can ask their friends and family to join them at a participating studio or do a special class online at Pilates Anytime. Truly, those in the Pilates community can be very creative in planning their fund raising event. We have been posting tips and sharing some studios plans on our Facebook page to help spark ideas.

Do you have a suggestion of where people can find their selected charities?
People can visit our webpage to find a list of 5 charities from which they can choose, or people can decide to dedicate their fund raising to a charity that they or some of their clients are involved with. The only caveat is that if people decide to choose a charity of their own we would ask them to double check that the charity will use at least 75% of their donation for the cause (and not administrative costs, for example). Justgive.org is a great resource for researching charities and an easy way to collect funds. We have set up a JustGive page for our 5 charities so studios and teachers can collect their funds and donate it directly to the charity through that.

If people have any questions about this part of planning a successful Pilates Gives Back Day, we are more than happy to help out. They can email us at pilatesgivesback@gmail.com, send a private message on Facebook, or call Marie at 310-435-2571.

Can you tell us about your Pilates background?
Marie Wittman: I have been practicing and teaching Pilates since 1998, and I have been a Senior Teacher Trainer since 2002. I fell in love with it the very first time I tried it. My passion for teaching Pilates has only deepened over the years as I have witnessed countless clients and budding teachers all over the world improve their total well-being through it. I was enthusiastic about my nomination to Committee Head for the APU’s Charity Committee because I see it as an excellent opportunity to further the message that Pilates is a great deal more than a fitness trend.

Sue Gregus: Sue started teaching Pilates in 2009, and opened a studio in 2012. She came to Pilates after an injury and she has become quite well-known for her amazing skills in using Pilates for rehabilitation. Her commitment to the health of others is evident in her studio and in the mentoring she does. Sue joined the Charity Committee in early 2014 after we had an epic conversation about everything in-and outside the Pilates world one day over coffee. Her devotion to promoting Pilates as a health practice has shone through her volunteer work on the Charity Committee.
Play Foundation
St Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Autism Speaks
Action for Healthy Kids
Cancer Support Community


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